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Radio Made in Michigan
Wed February 13, 2013
Michigan Lawmakers To Debate Forest Diversity Plan
A fight is brewing in the Michigan Legislature over management of state forest land.
A Senate committee has scheduled a hearing for Thursday on a bill that would limit the Department of Natural Resources' authority to manage sections of state forests with a primary goal of promoting plant and animal biodiversity.
Senator Tom Casperson of Escanaba in sponsoring the measure. He says it's aimed at a DNR program under development that would designate "biodiversity stewardship areas" where logging and motorized recreation might be off-limits.
The DNR says those activities could still be allowed if compatible with conservation goals. But the department says there would be no net loss of logging or recreation opportunities in state forests.
Environmentalists oppose the bill and say promoting biodiversity is good for jobs and nature.